My Life group recently did a study called “Loving Like Jesus” by Sharon Steele. At the same time, our sermon series at church was about loving better within the relationships that we have.

Since both areas had a similar topic of study, this meant it was time I got busy implementing what I was learning. I definitely had some work to do! After I had been working at this for a time, one day I wrote down a few notes:

“I have been trying daily and praying about it daily; about loving others better, especially my husband. The strange thing is, I have been MORE impatient and have had LESS endurance, and am really struggling with it! Then it hit me:

I believe that when we pray about something  which we desire to grow deeper in, Satan takes that as his cue to full-front attack us, head on. Fiery darts, arrows, pit falls, harsh words… He makes it much more difficult for us to overcome, by putting on some serious pressure.

This is a real battle! But, the evil one has overplayed his hand this time. As I write this, I am literally shaking with excitement because I am now on to his wily ways and schemes, as he tries to discourage and manipulate me. I now recognize his plan. My eyes have been opened! We battle not against flesh and blood, but against real spiritual powers. The great news is that we have spiritual armor that God has given us to help in this battle.”

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Ephesians 6:10-18

Do you see it? When we are trying to grow in love, Satan wants us to shrink. When we are moving forward, he pushes us backward. If when that moment of an angry word, or an impatient comment, or a snide remark wants to jump out of your mouth, recognize that the evil one is busy! He is trying to get you to speak in a manner that’s not pleasing to God, that you will feel guilty about later, which will also hurt the one that you have nearly offended.

STOP in your tracks…..CLOSE your mouth….ASK for God’s help…

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17

Remember, you are trying to love others better than before, to love them deeper than ever, to love others longer than you thought possible, without you getting in the way.

Expect trouble. Expect that the evil one is going to discourage you, give you grief, tempt you and try your patience. He doesn’t want you to win! He doesn’t want you happy! But guess what? He will lose this fight. He will see us happy. We are on to his wily ways!

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

This world is a war zone in the spiritual realm for our souls. When we realize that and act accordingly, seeking the Holy Spirt to help us through it, then we will see everything in a different light.

Keep Jesus Christ at the center of your heart, desires, and actions, and you will do well.

Food for thought: The hope is that you will begin to recognize the evil snake’s attempted attacks on your relationships. Then you can laugh at his obvious failure!

Fun facts: “At my age, patience is not a virtue, its a luxury!” – Irma Bombeck.
“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way i the end.” – Margaret Thatcher.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Love like Jesus